I am aware of the "Get Info" process of changing icons, but when I change the icon of Emacs, nothing happens

I installed Emacs with this command:

brew install emacs --HEAD --with-cocoa

When I run csrutil status I get disabled.

I am able to change the icons of folders but not apps

4 Answers 4


App icons are part of the application and not something easily changed by the user.

Changing the icon will change the data the application hashses over for its signature and so some things will complain the application is corrupt.

Icons can be changed by going to the Application in Finder and then choose Show Package Contents. In the simplest case an icon file will usually be for application X (I think the developer can decide to use another name) X.app/Contents/Resources/X.icns You can then replace that file. However if the application is well written and so complies with Apple's Human Interface Guidelines there will be several icons

Every app must include several sizes of its app icon for display in the Finder, Dock, Launchpad, and elsewhere.

Note that when Homebrew gets an updated version of Emacs and you update it will overwrite the change you made.

  • Thanks, that worked for the application folder, but my Launchpad icon is still the old one. So is the one in the preview tab of Get Info Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 17:36
  • That might well be caching you need to rebuild LaunchServices - or also apps can have multiple icons for the different size of display. The easy way is to recompile the source yourself ;)
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 17:37

I found a way to change Emacs GUI dock and other icons.

  1. Download png files from http://emacs.sexy/#icons, or use your own.
  2. Take the largest png and convert it to .icns file with an online converter (google)
  3. Open Finder, go to Applications, and right click Emacs to Show Package Contents, then navigate to Contents - Resources
  4. Replace the Emacs.icns file with your own from #2.
  5. HERE's the tricky part - then I had to also do the drag-drop trick.
    • In a NEW Finder window, go to Applications, right click Emacs and click Get Info.
    • Then from the other Finder where you have the new Emacs.icns file, DRAG it to the TOP LEFT small icon in the Get Info window.

No restart required:


  • 2
    You can use $ sips -s format icns input.png --out output.icns to convert the those png from emacs.sexy, just use one that is not bigger than 512x512
    – Hugo
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 20:32

Another way I found to do this simple change is to use image2icon, you can install with homebrew and then use any icon you want.


nowadays you should just try this:

brew install emacs-mac --with-emacs-sexy-icon

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .